The Volkswagen brand started its Integrated Mobility Solutions in Rwanda that includes local vehicle assembly, innovative mobility services and a sales and service retail outlet CFAO Volkswagen Rwanda. Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Group South Africa, officially launched the project in the capital Kigali.
Volkswagen is thus taking the next step toward developing new up-and-coming markets. In a long-term perspective, the brand intends to play a leading role in the emerging automotive industry in Africa. With this engagement, Volkswagen is making a substantial contribution to Africa’s economic development.
Thomas Schäfer said; “Rwanda has great potential. The country is young, modern and hungry for individual mobility. With a package specifically tailored to the region comprising local vehicle production, new vehicle business and innovative mobility services, we intend to harness the opportunities for growth and create new opportunities. Rwanda can become a blueprint for other African and emerging market countries.”
At the centre of the project are app-based car sharing and ride hailing offerings that take individual mobility to a broader share of the population. The project kicks off with community car sharing primarily aimed at companies in the capital, Kigali. A ride hailing service will follow later this year. Further mobility services are planned for 2019. Rwanda is the ideal market for new mobility solutions because the people there are very digitally-minded and tech-savvy. Moreover, demand for mobility is growing and the present offerings can scarcely keep pace with these needs.
On the production side, local assembly of the latest-generation Polo and Passat will now commence with other models planned for the future. Initially it is planned to build up to 1,000 vehicles per year depending on demand and the success of the mobility fleet, with an annual production capacity of up to 5,000 units. Assembly is flexibly designed and can be expanded further if required. The sales and service retail outlet CFAO Volkswagen Rwanda is part of the same complex and guarantees comprehensive customer service. Volkswagen will spend some US $20 million in Rwanda for phase one.
Sub-Sahara strategy: presence in the growth markets of the future
Volkswagen is also driving its Sub-Sahara strategy further forward with the start of production operations and market activities in Rwanda.
The brand will be significantly expanding its engagement in Africa and its long-term goal is to play a leading role in the emerging automotive industry in Africa. To that end, the brand will be establishing several pillars in the region and pursuing rapid and flexible expansion over the coming years. That will lay the foundation for participating in the region’s future growth. In addition to Rwanda, Volkswagen is already active in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria. Further locations are already being planned.
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